On April 15 and 16, PRSSA National held its annual Leadership Assembly, where leaders of PRSSA Chapters around the country gathered to learn more about leadership and networking with their peers. This was also a chance for members to meet the PRSSA 2021–2022 National Committee. To start off the Assembly, networking began in a virtual conference room, where there were three different floors and many different tables to “sit” at.
At 11:30 a.m., the conference officially began with PRSSA 2020–2021 National President, Carolyn Lok and Immediate Past President, Nicholas Goebel, making remarks about the day. The two welcomed attendees and gave a preview of the experience they were about to have. Lok spoke about how this year went for the current PRSSA National Committee, being the first committee elected virtually.
The day’s keynote address was by Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins, a creative whose works spans across multiple disciplines: podcasting, journalism, marketing, and video, to name a few. Jenkins discussed his unique career journey and offered some advice for students. Jenkins graduated from Morehouse College in 2009 with a marketing degree and high hopes of “being an adult like you see in television shows.” Like so many others, though, his career journey involved many twists and turns: a stint at Nestle, a year of doing odd jobs not at all related to marketing, and eventually landing at Mass Appeal, company where he would find his professional mentor. He now serves as a podcast host for Mogul, a hip-hop podcast that is part of the Gimlet media network.
Jenkins advice for student was plentiful and varied. A lot of his points focused on being present in the moment, owning your unique skillsets and passions, and defining your own path. As a college student, many of us feel the need to have it all figured out right when we graduate, and the simple truth is that sometimes things don’t work out the way we think, and that’s okay. Students can further connect with Jenkins on LinkedIn.
Thefirst day of Leadership Assembly featured a session called “The Spark Within: Defining a New Generation of Leaders” with Patrice Tanaka. She is a public speaker on business and life purpose, as well as Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Planet.
Tanaka started her presentation with some statistics which stated fewer than 20% of leaders have a strong sense of their individual purpose. According to her, “a life purpose is how we will leverage our talent, expertise and passion in service of other people and our planet.”
After explaining some basic concepts about how life purpose can drive us to accomplish what matters most, she demonstrated how a business purpose can do the same thing for an organization. Patrice showed another statistic which affirmed purpose-driven companies like Airbnb, Microsoft, and Starbucks, have larger growths than profit-only focused companies.
She also believes that helping employees discover their individual purpose will challenge them to find the alignment with the organization’s purpose and engage them in driving the business forward.
Finally, Tanaka motivated attendees to find the spark within us and have greater clarity of our life and leadership purpose. Overall, I learned so much in this session and I’m so happy I chose to attend this session.
I went to a session called “Advocacy and Unity Through Times of Change” from Rich Ferraro, the chief communications officer of GLAAD. Rich discussed what GLAAD is, as well as the communications behind the scenes, such as their research of LGBTQ+ in ads and television. This was probably the most informative session I attended; I got to learn so much about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that happen in public and behind the scenes in GLAAD.
To end out the conference, there was a mix and mingle, where members got to network even more with peers. Overall, this year’s Leadership Assembly offered Chapter leaders inspiring and informative sessions that equipped them for success in the upcoming year. It also touched upon timely topics, such as advocating for change. Despite the virtual setting, members were still able to connect with each other from the comfort of their homes. Now Chapters leaders and the incoming National Committee will look to prepare for the upcoming school year with fresh perspectives and new insights in mind.
Christina Billie is a junior public relations major at Temple University. She serves as her Chapter’s vice president and is also an account associate for PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s student-run public relations firm. She is currently interning at Breslow Partners, where she serves as a public relations intern.
Dieter Tirado is a junior student at Universidad de San Martín de Porres (USMP) in Lima, Peru. He is pursuing a major in PR with a minor in Advertisement. He has served as a PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee member since 2019. As PRSSA USMP’s International Ambassador and the Assistant Director of its Student-run Firm, PR USMP, Dieter takes advantage of every moment and experience in the Society. During his free time, you can find him singing, connecting with people from his city and the world, and watching any kind of videos online just for fun. Connect with Dieter on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Zach Ferenchak, 2020–2021 vice president of brand engagement, is a senior at Capital University, a private university in Columbus, Ohio. He is majoring in emerging media with an emphasis in public relations and minors in journalism and marketing. In his free time, Ferenchak can be found obsessing over the latest gadget or video game, exploring a coffee shop with friends, or going on a trail run. He hopes to elevate the voices of all PRSSA members through the organization’s various brand platforms. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.